With an intent to cooperate on critical technologies, India and the United States on Tuesday launched an initiative spearheaded by their National Security Councils as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joe Biden pledged to work jointly for a rules-based international order, and a connected and secure world.
The two leaders met in Tokyo on the sidelines of the Quad Summit and reviewed progress under the bilateral comprehensive global strategic partnership, and committed to deepen the India-US Major Defence Partnership. The talks also focused on increasing cooperation in global health, pandemic preparedness and critical and emerging technologies.
In his remarks to the media before the meeting, Modi said the two sides have a strategic partnership based on trust, and their common interests in defence and their shared values have strengthened the bond of trust. "I am absolutely sure the India-US friendship will continue to be a force for good for global peace and stability, for sustainability of the planet and for human development," he said.
Biden said both democracies are delivering through bilateral cooperation and the Quad for the world. He added that the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) and the Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness reflect the vision of the two sides for a more connected and secure world. "I am committed to making the US-India partnership among the closest we have on Earth," he said.
During the meeting that lasted a little more than half an hour, the two sides launched the India-US Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET), jointly led by their National Security Councils, to expand partnership in critical and emerging technologies. The initiative will forge closer links between government, academia and industry in areas such as artificial intelligence, semiconductors, quantum computing, 5G and 6G, biotech and space.
The external affairs ministry said the bilateral comprehensive strategic global partnership is underpinned by a shared commitment to democratic values, rule of law and a commitment to uphold a rules-based international order. A readout from the White House said the two leaders pledged to work together for a more prosperous, free, connected and secure world.
While describing defence and security cooperation as a crucial pillar of the bilateral agenda, the two sides discussed ways to strengthen collaboration in this field. Modi invited US industry to partner with India to "manufacture in India under the 'Make in India' and 'Aatma Nirbhar Bharat', or self-reliant India, programmes", the external affairs ministry said.
The two sides announced India's joining the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF)-Bahrain as an associate member. CMF, which is led by a US vice-admiral, was established in 2001 to counter international terrorism and piracy; it currently has 34 members. It also has three task forces devoted to maritime security in the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, and another for counter-piracy.
The two sides will also expand cooperation in new defence domains, including through space and cyber, and launch a dialogue on artificial intelligence this year.
In the health sector, India and the US extended their Vaccine Action Programme (VAP) till 2027 to continue joint biomedical research, which has already led to the development of vaccines and related technologies. This programme was launched in 1987 to support cooperation in areas such as novel vaccine research and human immunology, and is renewed every five years.
The US will join six of India's Technology Innovation Hubs to support 25 joint research projects in 2022 in areas such as artificial intelligence and data science that can benefit agriculture, health and climate. The US National Science Foundation and India's Department of Science and Technology will deepen this cooperation through iCET.
Biden also raised the Ukraine crisis during the meeting and condemned "Russia's unjustifiable war". The readout from the White House said the two leaders are committed to continue providing humanitarian assistance and also discussed "how to cooperate to manage disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine", especially the rise in energy and food prices.
The statement issued by the external affairs ministry contained no reference to Ukraine. The Indian side has, in the past as well, stopped short of any public criticism of Russia's action and called for respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty of States. It has also sought an end to hostilities and a return to dialogue and diplomacy.
Ahead of the meeting, Biden told the media that he intended to discuss the effects of "Russia's brutal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine" and its impact on the world order. "The US and India are going to continue consulting closely on how to mitigate these negative effects," he said.